New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday questioned Latha Rajinikanth, wife of actor Rajinikanth as to why she was not honouring the undertaking given to the court to pay the dues of Rs 6.20 crores to Ad Bureau, which had given Rs 10 crores loan for the production of the film `Kochadaiyan’ directed by her daughter Soundarya Rajinikanth.
A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Ms. R Banumathi took strong exception to Latha's attempt to wriggle out of her liability to pay Rs 6.2 crore to an advertising agency on the pretext that her previous lawyer had wrongly given the undertaking.
Justice Gogoi observed, “We don't like people playing around with court orders. We think you should face the trial. If you're innocent, you will be acquitted. Face the trial."
In February, Latha's lawyer gave an undertaking in the court that if her firm does not pay in three months, she will be personally liable to pay Rs 6.2 crore to the advertising agency. However, on Tuesday, the lawyer for her firm Ilam Bharathi Subbiah and Balaji Srinivasan offered to give a cheque of only Rs 10 lakh
Justice Gogoi observed, "We don't want you to pay. We want the lady to pay. It is her undertaking and the period of three months is long gone." Then Balaji Srinivasan, representing Latha, then made a statement that the undertaking was recorded by the previous lawyer without Latha's approval. This submission irked the bench, which shot back and said that it will not allow people to play around with court orders. "We don't think it is a case of quashing (the complaint against Latha). Why should we give extra indulgence to her anymore? We kept it pending only because you gave an undertaking. We should now decide it only on merits.”
Balaji Srinivasan then said that the dispute is chiefly about the quantum of dues and hence, the advertising agency should make a categorical statement on how much is the amount pending and its calculation.
In a brief order the Bench said, “we are not getting into the quantum of liability between the parties. The respondent has not complied with the undertaking given to this court. Post this matter for hearing on merits on July 10.”
The Bench passed this order on an appeal filed by Ad Burau against a Karnataka High Court judgment quashing the criminal proceedings against Latha Rajinikanth and her daughter.
The dispute dates back to 2014 when a financial dispute arose during the production of the film. Latha had sold the post-production work of the film in which the petitioner was given exclusive distribution rights for Tamil Nadu, providing for 12 per cent pre-release guaranteed profit by Latha.
On February 20, the Bench had passed an order stating that within three months if the Company-Mediaone Global Entertainment Limited does not pay the balance dues, the respondent-accused (Latha Rajinikanth) has undertaken before the Court to pay the amount due.
Counsel for Ad Bureau submitted that out of the total dues of Rs 14.90 crores, a sum of Rs 8.70 crores had been received and a balance of Rs 6.20 crore with interest was due from Latha. But counsel for Latha disputed this. In view of this the court decided to hear the matter on merits....